Hotel World

By Ali Smith


Sara Wilby, a hotel chambermaid, falls to her death in the dumbwaiter yet lingers in the world to remember things she never knew. Lise, the disgruntled receptionist, invites the homeless Else into the hotel, and together with Penny, a distracted journalist, they help Clare, the dead girl's distraught sister, complete an errand she doesn't fully understand. Five people: somehow they connect, and Ali Smith makes of their very different fates this playful, defiant, richly inventive, and wonderfully life- and love-affirming novel.

Year of Publication


Ali Smith’s writing is as effervescent as champagne and as scorching as bath-tub gin. Hotel World is a novel of short stories, with a homeless woman, a hotel critic, a receptionist, the ghost of a chambermaid and the maid’s sister reflecting the five stage stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Smith shows that the possibilities of the avant-garde are not exhausted. -- Stuart Kelly

Author Biography

Ali Smith is the author of eight previous works of fiction, including the novel Hotel World, which was short-listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award, and The Accidental, which won the Whitbread Award and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her story collections include Free Love, which won a Saltire Society First Book of the Year Award and a Scottish Arts Council Award, and The Whole Story and Other Stories. Born in Inverness, Scotland, Smith lives in Cambridge, England.